It is so deeply disheartening to read that once again-our Islands have such a poor report in the Kids Count Data which rates the state of our children and Youth here- in one of the most beautiful places in the world- as alarming. It measures such things as poverty, teen pregnancy, juvenile crime, school dropout rates and other factors that help gage the social and economic well being of the community-and we have, once again, failed miserably!
Let's take an honest and deep look at what is really going on here. Children and Teens usually "act out" the troubles of their parents- or those adults… in control of their lives.
With this fact in place-how are we doing as adults in role-modeling and teaching our children and Youth about problem-solving; taking responsibility for our actions; being honest and direct about issues? Are we providing them with opportunities for self-growth and awareness? What kinds of facilities do they have for recreation; how are our schools in representing our respect for them? ? What kinds of programs are in place for intervention before all of these behaviors surface? The sad answer is very little to none.
When will that change? I am so tired of hearing that "our Youth are our future" then nothing.
What I find particularly hypocritical and troublesome is that we have a Legislature who is constantly creating divisiveness between all of the many different people of our Islands; who behave so poorly and act out such immature and unacceptable behavior on the floor of our Legislature as supposed "Leaders" that I sometimes cringe at the kind of pathetic role-modeling demonstrated.
Our Youth and Teens need good role-models; they need honest dialog from us; they need to be a major part of defining their perceived problems and input for solutions.
They are not being listened to. When people are continually ignored-needs unmet and feel unheard- they tend to act out their frustrations and hopelessness through inappropriate behavior. This is a known fact.
We need big changes in how we run our systems of Government. The VI 's deep levels of bureaucracies that we have created and continue to hold onto-to keep government jobs-is robbing our children of resources so desperately needed. The youth of St. John have always received very little resources-from Recreation to Education-because it is at the end of the line- and usually funds have run out. It is yet another reason to find a better way to "govern" our Islands in a more localized manner.
I call upon everyone who cares about our Youth to pay attention to our next Legislative Candidates. Forget about the promises-those come cheap.
Instead vote for people who are honest…have been actively involved in their communities to make them better…have demonstrated decorum and respect with each other; as well as good problem-solving skills…elect those who will listen and communicate to those people they serve and clearly understand that serve is the important word here. Any candidate who has not demonstrated these skills should be deleted from our Legislature.
We need to serve our children and Youth so much better.
Putting the right people in place in our next Legislative body is a good step in moving forward. Maybe then we can move this Kids Count Data into a more acceptable range.
I am praying for that.
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